December 19, 1951

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

The election is over in Newfoundland.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

But we have a by-election coming up.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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?

An hon. Member:

Hire a hall.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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?

An hon. Member:

An honest man.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

When the premier was forming the commission he went to a friend and said, "I would like to put you on that royal commission". His friend said,

"Look here, now, Joe, you know you are only fooling the people. It does not make much difference whether rolled oats sell for six cents in St. John's, Newfoundland, and seven cents in Labrador. There is nothing going to come out of it". "Oh", he replied "we have to let the people think we are doing something for them". And so the commission was appointed. And it brought in a report, I believe. Where they put that report, I do not know. We have never been able to get it. It is not in the parliamentary library.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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?

An hon. Member:

Perhaps the same place as the flour-milling report.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

No, I do not

think it was as bad as that.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Ask the Minister of Justice.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

But yesterday the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo, a gentleman for whom I have the highest respect, told us that the committee dealing with this subject had before it, among other documents, the report of that royal commission in Newfoundland which dealt with the question of the cost of living. Well, I inquired from the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) and he said no. I phoned the clerk of the committee and he said no, that he thought an extract was read from it, but it was not put before the committee.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

We never saw it.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Yesterday when the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo was reading from a manuscript in his hand as if it were from the report of the royal commission, I asked him if he was reading from the royal commission's report and he said yes. But obviously he was not. He was reading from a typescript he held in his hand. I do not believe there is a copy of the royal commission's report within these precincts. I have tried to get it.

I have here a letter I received from Mr. C. C. Janes, managing director of the Newfoundland co-operative union, asking me to support resale price maintenance. He outlined this very thing to which reference was made by the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo and the hon. member for Coast-Capilano, when they referred to the matter of batteries. It is said that the resale price of this article has risen from 60 cents to 80 cents, according to the finding of the royal commission in Newfoundland. In the first place, the landed cost of this battery was 46J cents, that is before confederation, and the selling price was 60 cents. After confederation the landed cost rose to 47 J cents and the retail selling price was 80 cents. It was suggested that

Combines Investigation Act this was due to resale price maintenance. Now, sir, I have not seen the report of the commission and I am not in a position to accept or deny any statements that have been made in this respect. However, I have been associated for a long time with the co-operative movement in Newfoundland, and I know the managing director who has written this letter. He is an official of the government of Newfoundland. I imagine he has picked out this startling piece of evidence.

Yesterday I called the Canadian Tire Corporation and asked them what the prioe of the battery was here. They said it was 84 cents. I asked them whether the price had gone up in the past year, and they said that it had gone up about 15 cents. Everything else is going up; why should not the price of batteries go up as well?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

That is taxes.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

That is income taxes and sales taxes.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

It is long sessions of parliament, long speeches and high costs.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Especially long budget speeches and overtaxation.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

The Minister of Justice described to us the difference between horizontal price fixing and vertical price fixing.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

What is the difference?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

The difference is that one is illegal. Horizontal price fixing is between the manufacturers. We will say that the manufacturers of flour agree between themselves to keep the price at a certain level. This is contrary to the Combines Investigation Act. As the commissioner pointed out, these manufacturers had committed an offence. Because there was a disagreement between the government and the wartime prices and trade board, these men were not prosecuted for a breach of the Combines Investigation Act. I hope the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) understands that.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

You fellows remember that.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Unfortunately this report was concealed by the government for over twelve months and it was too late to prosecute the offenders. This report was overlooked by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) who is so deeply concerned about the independent retailer today, and especially about that homogeneous person, the consumer. Vertical price fixing, which as I say is quite a legitimate thing, is something which takes place between the manufacturer and the retailer. I submit, and I suggest to the Minister of Justice, that vertical price fixing is a legitimate and a natural development

Combines Investigation Act which has been going on ever since there was any trade. If the government is going to interfere with that, I point out that they are doing something that may have startling effects.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
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December 19, 1951